On 21 October, a brief in Insight Crime advised that fashion continues to fuel money laundering in Colombia, generating millions in losses for the country’s textile industry. In September, several anti-contraband operations raided stores, leading to textile seizures valued at more than some $2.6 million. Between 2018 and 2019, Colombia experienced a 337% increase in textile contraband. The smuggling of clothing began to take force during the 1990s as the Colombian economy expanded, and te free trade zone in Colón in neighbouring Panama became a money laundering paradise thanks to contraband smuggling, as traffickers bought large quantities of textiles with tax benefits before smuggling them into Colombian territory, and boosted by a 2012 free trade agreement with the US. However, the textile sector, a key Colombian industry, has been negatively affected for several years by the massive arrival of Asian clothing. The article says that this is not a problem unique to Colombia – in Mexico, 2 out of every 3 articles of clothing purchased in the country entered illegally, while in Argentina, textile goods and illegal commerce flow freely across the country’s borders.
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